Sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass and function with ageing, is a multifactorial condition that slowly develops over decades and becomes a significant contributor to disability in the older population. Malnutrition and alterations in the muscle anabolic response to nutritional stimuli have been identified as potentially preventable factors that may significantly contribute to sarcopenia. In the present article we review the most recent findings regarding the role of nutritional factors in the development, prevention and treatment of sarcopenia. Specifically, we focus on the nutritional needs of the elderly; the age-related changes in the response of muscle protein metabolism to feeding and to the endogenous hormones released during feeding; and the role played by the splanchnic tissues in the response of muscle proteins to feeding. Finally, we review the issues relative to the potential use of nutritional therapies, including supplementation, for the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia.